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Sexting and Teens and New Laws
Do you and your child know and understand what the down and dirty are about sexting? The word sexting even sounds vaguely familiar. Sex texting or sex messaging is “text messaging that is sexually motivated” defined by the Urbandictionary.com website.
In reality, sexting usually involves pictures of private body parts, which may or may not be clothed. Texting is a new kind of sexually flirting. The sexter takes very sensitive and personal pictures of his or herself with a built in cell phone camera or a computer web cam. The pictures meant only for a boyfriend or girlfriend often ends up being seen or sent by someone who then reports the behavior to school officials or law enforcement.
Teens are sexting everyday in school, at home, on their jobs. The problem with sexting is that most high school students are under 18 and sexting is causing major issues for both, sender and receiver. The reason sexting is causing such chaos is it is illegal.
Sexting is child pornography, and child pornography is a felony. Teens are facing prison time, fines, probation, or parole, and a lifetime of having to register as a sex offender. For the teenager who is simply flirting with the camera and creating self-portraits to send to a beau, the behavior does not register to him or her as child pornography.
Texting is by itself inherently dangerous. Text messaging is a silent means of communication. By writing or typing, a teen can say things he or she might not risk saying aloud on a home phone in fear that mom or dad will accidentally pick up the house phone or even walk in on the conversation. Teens are more likely to type out extreme sexual thoughts they are having but would never ever consider saying aloud.
Texting is allows a teenager to communicate silently 24 hours a day seven days a week. The mere fact that texting allows a teen to talk in complete privacy to people a teen or the parent may or may not know and this places the teen at risk for agreeing to do or meet someone they believe they can trust but essentially should not trust.
Parents will say I cannot control his or her texting and I do not wish to take away my child’s cell phone because he or she may need to contact me in an emergency. Sexting is an emergency and life will go on if a teen loses the privilege to text, by crossing the line into sexting. Texting is an optional feature a parent can disable through the cell phone carrier. Texting and sexting are becoming so ingrained many teens are texting in excess of 5,000 messages in a month.
Parents talk to your children about the dangers of sexting. Help teens realize once something information or pictures go out into cyberspace there is no way to get that information back off the web. In addition, you cannot prevent someone from sending your picture to other people. There is no going back!
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